Smoking Bans and Restrictions: Point/ Counter-Point

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Written by: Jonathan “JD” Munroe and Nate Thomas
*Disclaimer: The opinions and views of JD and Nate in no way reflect those of The Point or the rest of its staff. We are just idiots ranting about things we are passionate about.*-Nate
Let Us Die A Happy People-JD
Strolling down the street towards work,you see two people standing in the parking lot with a smoke cloud beginning to build and billow around them. You don’t have to walk by them, but you can smell a pungent odor wafting your way.
Research has proven that cigarette smoke causes many health issues including but not limited to lung cancer, emphysema, bad blood circulation, and many more. Smokers are bombarded with quit smoking ads and smoking bans, not to mention the Surgeon General Warnings plastered all over tobacco products. Despite all of this, they still choose to smoke. Who are we to control and deny them their natural born right?
The Clarification:
Many smokers do not mind certain restrictions on smoking. There are restrictions such as not smoking within twenty-feet of most doors, not smoking in vehicles with someone under the age of eighteen, and not smoking around children’s playgrounds. We only want to enjoy our guilty pleasure of smoking without being pestered and glared at the entire time. My stance is that outdoor areas should not ban smoking such as Universities, Hospitals, and other places. Let us die a happy people.
The Problem: Public Smoking
People have an issue with seeing smokers and many will claim second-hand smoke causes harm to them in outdoor venues. Many public buildings, including our own University, have proposed and implemented smoking/tobacco restrictions and there are many other places that do not allow it.
Public smoking is a problem that was created by non-smokers in an attempt to infringe on smoker’s rights. The Government has become a part of this conspiracy by increasing taxes on tobacco which have increased by over 250% over the last 5 years. The only reason that can be found for it is because it forces people to quit smoking and prevents health issues because people cannot smoke.
The Government should not be able to impose taxes on people in an attempt to control people’s lives and tell them what they are allowed to do and not allowed to do. There is a reason we do not live in a dictatorship.
Banning smoking on places like College Campuses and Hospitals infringes on the employee’s and students’ rights. Picture, if you will, a nurse has been working a 16hr shift, and her  scrubs are still bloody from the lives she has been helping to save in the ER. She finally has a moment to steal away and smoke a cigarette to calm her nerves. Finally get a breather. The entire time she is attempting to recoup herself she hears people snickering about her and glaring at her. I challenge anyone to argue she has not earned her alone time. If full bans go into effect, that means she will have to leave hospital grounds in order to enjoy her cigarette, which means she will not be around when you need her.
Solution: Restrict Not Ban
A restriction on smoking in front of doorways or in vehicles with someone who is under the age of 18 is acceptable. While smokers may find it to be an inconvenience, most are ok because we understand that not everyone is a smoker and some people would like to keep smoke away from them. This is acceptable. What is abhorrent is attempting to ban it all together and continue to raise taxes on tobacco in an attempt to tell Americans what we are and are not allowed to do. I would like to challenge all my readers to stop and think for a moment that if we allow this to continue and they succeed, who/what is next? Alcohol? Soda? Sugar? Where does it end?
Let us Die Happy People
Kill Yourselves All You Want, Just Don’t Kill Me-Nate
We aren’t like our parents who had a limited understanding of the dangers of smoking, or their parents before them who had no understanding of the dangers at all. Our entire lives we have known that smoking is terrible for everyone and can lead to many diseases, illnesses, and sometimes death. Because of this, it is my opinion that picking up smoking at any point in our lives, is one of the most idiotic things someone our age can do. I get a lot of heat and anger thrown my way any time I voice this opinion, but I have never strayed away from it.
On the issue of public smoking: This was not a problem “that was created by non-smokers in an attempt to infringe on smoker’s rights”, as my associate JD stated. This is not some imaginary thing that we pulled out of our asses. Non-smokers generally don’t care that smokers smoke as long as it doesn’t affect our lives. Smoking in your house, in your car, not near anyone, fine, go for it. Slowly kill yourself any way you please. The problem with public smoking is that it DOES affect our lives. According to multiple organizations, scientists, etc. it causes many of the same diseases as direct smoking. Cancer, circulatory system diseases, heart diseases, lung problems, type 2 diabetes, the list goes on and on. Secondhand smoke has also been found to be four times more toxic than first hand smoking, which the tobacco industry has known since 1980, but kept it hidden. Also, secondhand smoking causes about 53,000 deaths per year, making it the 3rd leading cause of preventable death in the country. (Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
So yes, secondhand smoke causes nonsmokers problems, lots of them, so saying that public smoking is a problem that we created is ludicrous. Also, it is extremely hard to avoid in public. The smoke doesn’t dissipate into the air and never bother anyone ever again, it lingers in a cloud of bad decisions and “screw-off” attitude. It stays in the air nearby, it stays in clothes, and it stays in rooms and objects. You may think this is just a bad smell, but in actuality, that smell carries the same toxins as first and second hand smoke, and experiencing all of this is called thirdhand smoke.
But there is something we can agree on. I agree that restrictions are the way to go. Bans are ridiculous. Bans just lead to people doing the thing that is banned anyway in a way of protest. Restrictions are smarter, and actually cut down on behavior more than bans.
Basically my main view on all of this, is that I don’t want to be affected by your smoking. If you smoke then go for it. Kill yourself all you want. Who am I to judge? (Even though one could argue that I have been judging this entire article. But why would you want to argue? That is rude and it hurts my feelings.)